In moving 120 miles to the north, Spanos, of course, would risk alienating fans in San Diego, where the Chargers have played for more than a half-century. It is unclear how many of those fans would pay thousands of dollars for seat licenses and tickets, which would undoubtedly be more expensive in Los Angeles.
“I’ll drive to L.A. to support them, but only a couple of games a year,” said Alex Sanchez, a lifelong Chargers fan.
Spanos will need to find new fans in Los Angeles should he decide to move — he agreed in a television interview on Sunday that he was more likely to move his team than stay, only to say later that he had not made up his mind.
The city went without an N.F.L. team for two decades before the Rams returned. Of course, the Chargers might be a breath of fresh air compared to the Rams, who are 4-10.
In an effort to make a splash, the Rams made a blockbuster trade to acquire the first overall pick in the draft in April. They chose quarterback Jared Goff, who sat on the bench until late November and has lost all five games that he has started since then. Coach Jeff Fisher was signed to a two-year extension before the season, then fired this month after the team’s ninth loss.
But while the Chargers and the Rams struggle, the Raiders and their fans are reveling in their good fortune, at least on the field.
Off the field, owner Mark Davis has threatened to move to Las Vegas, where state lawmakers agreed to help pay for a domed stadium by raising $750 million through an increase in the hotel bed tax. The public largess is in contrast to Oakland, where Mayor Libby Schaaf has made far more modest promises, though last week the city and county gave the Fortress Investment Group, which is representing the city, two months to negotiate a stadium deal with the Raiders, assuming the team will come to the table.
While the owners understand why Spanos might abandon San Diego for Los Angeles, a much larger market, they are far less convinced that it makes sense for the Raiders to leave the Bay Area, the sixth-biggest media market in the country, for Las Vegas, which is far smaller.
Raiders fans in Oakland certainly want their team to stay put. But the team is also immensely popular in Southern California from the years it played in Los Angeles, and many fans in that part of the state say they could travel to Las Vegas just as easily as the Bay Area.
“I’m a Raiders fan, so I’m always going to follow them,” including to Las Vegas, said Jose Munoz, who lives in Culver City in Los Angeles County and made the trip to San Diego this weekend.
Alvarez, the Chargers fan, said he, too, had a game plan if the Chargers leave San Diego. His season-ticket money would be available to use for other purposes, such as going on the road to watch the Chargers play, but just not in Los Angeles.